There is an important quality that some homes have that creates interest and draws buyers in.  This quality can sometimes make or break a sale.  Becoming aware of this sought-after feature and making it a priority on your home improvement list might just give your home that extra touch that will make it stand out from the rest.  Not only is this feature influential in converting a buyer, it could become “the” selling feature of your home.


 Wondering what it is? Put yourself in a home buyer’s shoes for a moment, and see if you can guess it:


  • When you drive up to your home what do you notice?  The condition of the driveway and front lawn?  The neighbouring houses?  How much space there is between houses?


  • When you look out the windows of your home what do you see?  Does a neighbour’s house appear to tower over your home?  Is there a view from a window that is unpleasant?


  • When a buyer walks out the front or back door of your home, what does he see, feel and hear?  Does it become obvious that your house is on a busy street, near a train track, or near a busy school yard?


These are all important questions to ask, and the answers to each of them can reveal opportunities for making improvements to your home’s environment.  If you haven’t yet guessed what the unique quality is by now, it’s time to fill you in.  A prime selling feature of a home is a sense of privacy—specifically as it relates to the outdoors.


A home that backs onto a woodlot or park, or where privacy has already been created, is at an advantage from the start, but if your home doesn’t fit into one of these categories, what can you do?   How can you help a buyer forget the busy road traffic alongside your home?  How can you hide the towering house next door?  How can you create a more serene setting in your yard that will not only look great, but evoke an emotional response?  Wouldn’t it be great for a home buyer to get excited when he steps through the gate to your back yard?


You certainly can’t change your home’s location, but you can make the most of what you have and take it to a higher level.  Changes to a yard can transform any standard home into a peaceful, beautiful retreat-like haven.


Add Attractive Landscaping


It is very frustrating to pay a lot of money for a home, but then feel as if you need to hide inside with the blinds drawn in order to have privacy. Well-placed landscaping designed to veil a yard from onlookers is a good solution.  Choosing the right plants can be challenging, however.  You don’t want to cause a problem by creating too much shade or planting trees that become obstacles.  It makes sense to seek the advice of a professional landscape designer or horticulturist.  It will be important that the trees and shrubs you choose not only look good initially, but will mature in proportion to your lot.  Inquire about tree and shrub growth rates and the expected height and width at maturity of any plant you choose.


If you want instant privacy, start with larger trees or shrubs. Also consider whether you want the privacy of trees year-round or just over the summer months.  Ask the professionals about good choices of either deciduous or coniferous trees to suit your needs.


Good Fences Make Good Neighbours


Homeowners might feel afraid of offending their neighbours by putting up a fence, but in general, most people like the privacy a fence provides.  Fences also delineate property lines and provide safety from intruders.  Sometimes, the only way to keep your children and pets in and your neighbours’ out, is to put up boundaries.


Most people like the idea of having their own private area in which to sun bathe, read, or socialize without outsiders peering in.  A home is a major investment, and the homeowner should be able to use it as a private sanctuary both inside and out.  It may take adding a fence to accomplish that.


If you decide on a chain link fence, add privacy by filling in selected areas with attractive shrubbery and flowers. A solid wood fence, of course, is a better way to gain privacy.  If you’re concerned about creating a boxed-in look with a wooden fence, rest assured that adding shrubbery or trees will soften the edges.  You can also enhance the look by adding lattice or interesting post caps.


When considering adding a fence, always check into the neighbourhood building code for height and placement guidelines.  Then consider building high and private.


Consider Creating Privacy Structures


Strategically placed structures can also help block the gaze from onlookers and block out a neighbour’s towering house.  Position your deck in the best direction for privacy and perhaps add a screen or canopy roof. An attractive arbour to grow vines on, a gazebo, or other creative structure can also wall off an area to create a cozy corner.  Angle your structures to give you the optimum balance of sun and shade, as well as build in the privacy you’re after.


Creating privacy in these ways will also create an illusion of quiet.  Water features are great additions in helping to counteract outside noise.  Adding fencing and creating a cozy corner or two either with structures or hedging will convert a back yard into another room.  It is this final room of the house that might just win a buyer over.  On the other hand, if a buyer feels there are unattractive views and little privacy, they may take your home off their list.


Upgrading the outside of your home to create privacy will be an added cost, but done well, should add value to your home.  It may even become your home’s best selling feature should you decide to sell.  In the meantime, adding privacy to your home will add charm and a peaceful setting for you to enjoy.


Why not add a little more privacy to your home and make it the sanctuary of your dreams?